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Analysis of Poem "Mid-Term Break" by Seamus Heaney

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Seamus Heaney and Mid-Term Break

Mid-Term Break
Seamus Heaney
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The poem is not lyrical in the conventional sense of the word — there are no flowers or moons or still lakes — but it is intensely moving in its muted description of the rituals of mourning. Heaney is the elder brother having to deal with a terrible shock, and having to react as a little man while still being a child.

Heaney focuses on observed details and it is the accumulation of these that make the poem so memorable. Note that this poem is an elegy ; a poem to commemorate the life of someone who has died, tracing the stages of grief. Structure The poem comprises seven three-lined stanzas and a final single line stanza. There is no regular rhyme scheme or rhythmic pattern. We'll have things fixed soon. It is also significant that the poet was greeted at the door by his father, but then had to move through a room of strange people, before reaching the centre, the core of the grieving host: The three lines of the fifth stanza are a turning point in the poem, as they finally reveal that there has indeed been a death in the family, and that the remains have been brought to the house.

It is not an idealistic, romanticised image of a woman sobbing softly, with warm and copious tears at the death of her son. On the contrary, it is a gritty and realistic portrayal of a woman who is angry about being cruelly robbed of her young son. As a consequence, her crying has become a brutal coughing-up of sighs, harsh and tearless, as empty and barren as her feelings of loss.

The second line brings the reader back to the action in the poem. His brother is not referred to in personal or emotive terms, but merely as a bandaged corpse that has been brought to the house by ambulance. This image indicates how alienated and remote the poet feels from events, as if he is still in shock and experiencing feelings of denial and disbelief. He does not see his brother as a person, but as a corpse. In addition, his brother is shrouded in bandages, and is not clearly seen or described.

The scene changes for the third and final time in the last two stanzas of the poem. It is the next morning, and the poet finally describes seeing his dead brother for the first time. This time, the description is more personal and affecting, and the feelings towards his brother seem to be more real, and less frozen by shock.

The first things that the poet notices upon entering the room where his brother is lying are snowdrops and candles.

This image is striking and significant, as it is here that the poet contrasts images of life and death. The snowdrops represent renewal, growth and new life, whereas the candles recall funeral rites, stillness and death.

We then learn that this was the first time in six weeks that Heaney had seen his brother, having been away at school. As previously touched upon, this is a reprise of the ideas put forward in fourth stanza: We also know from biographical material that Heaney did not like being away at boarding school, and was terribly homesick, so it also suggests that Heaney missed his brother and is now terribly anguished that they must meet again in this way.

It is as if the poet is comparing an image of his brother as he remembers him, with what is lying in front of him now. It is another device by which the poet juxtaposes images of life and death: Poppies are obviously a reference to death and remembrance, but this image serves more than one purpose.

Counting bells knelling classes to a close. At two o'clock our neighbours drove me home. He had always taken funerals in his stride—. And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow. The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram. And tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble'. Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,. In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.

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Seamus Heaney and Mid-Term Break The early poem Mid-Term Break was written by Heaney following the death of his young brother, killed when a car hit him in It is a poem that grows in stature, finally ending in an unforgettable single line image.

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Mid-Term Break By Seamus Heaney About this Poet Seamus Heaney is widely recognized as one of the major poets of the 20th century. A native of Northern Ireland, Heaney was raised in County Derry, and later lived for many years in Dublin. He was the author of over 20 volumes of poetry and.

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Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney - I sat all morning in the college sick bay Counting bells knelling classes to a close. At two o'clock our neighbors dro. Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney.. I sat all morning in the college sick bay Counting bells knelling classes to a close. At two oclock our neighbors drove me home/5(8).

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MID-TERM BREAK. The subject of this poem is the death of Seamus Heaney’s younger brother, Christopher who was killed by a car at the age of four. It is a tremendously poignant poem and its emotional power derives in large measure form the fact that Heaney is very muted and understated with respect to his own emotional response. About “Mid-Term Break” Heaney’s poem about a death in the family is based on the actual death of the poet’s younger brother, Christopher, at the age of four. The “break” in “Mid-Term Break” implies not only a gap in a school semester but also a “break” from the speaker’s previous life, a loss of innocence and coming-of-age in respect of his .